Gracing the 2019 first cohort of ALX Young Leaders, I was bestowed with the opportunity of presenting a graduation speech on the past 6 months at the program.
Dear Faculty, Staffulty, Honored Guests, Families and Fellow Pioneers.
On behalf of the pioneer class of 2019, I say welcome to everyone and thank you for celebrating this special day with us.
Reminiscing about our six months here as young leaders leaves me with a plethora of words that can be used to highlight the events, trials and our feelings. I will try to sum it all by saying we thought of ourselves in the right way.
6 Months ago, each one of us made the firm decision to join the ALX Launchpad program to shape our career trajectories in our beloved community. I bet in the middle of it; we wanted to give up, we tried to pack our laptops and go back home. Some have done that. Honestly, that would have been a more comfortable choice, but we stuck through it all, thick and thin. So for what lies ahead, I challenge you, and I encourage you to do the same.
Today we are gathered here to celebrate our success. One we can raise our heads high for we have overcome all the challenges life threw at us in the past six months. It has not been easy, but we have reached the end of this hurdle. It is also the beginning of a new one, and I want to encourage you to use the same spirit you have shown, the sacrifices you have made, the sleepless nights of the mastery projects you have endured, this I promise you my friends is our ticket to our next destination.
Some of us came to ALX with expectations, high or low but graduating today, tells me only one thing that our expectations have been met, and the ball has been thrown at us to transform our lives, our families, communities and Africa in general. Hence, what is needed today more than ever is for each one of us to think about ourselves in the right way. Education, they say is the key to success; I add that transformative learning experience is a candle that will light our paths when darkness shows its ugly face. It is the key that will open the doors of despair.
At ALX, I have met great people and individuals that have inspired me to a greater length. One of those is the founder of this amazing community, Mr Fred Swaniker the first individual I met who showed real love for Africa. Mr Fred is an old soul with many layers, and like many old souls he has a habit of speaking in quotes and phrases and I quote, “Life is a complex phenomenon for some and others it is a walk in the park.”
Maybe a decade from now we won’t remember some of the McKinsey frameworks we learned in the Discovery Sessions, but we will not forget the love we shared here. And at the end of the day, it is this love for us, our friends, our community and Africa that will make the difference in our lives. We must continue to nurture a passion for Africa today with all its challenges it needs us more than ever before.
I do not promise you a comfortable journey nor am I assuming that it will be the same for everyone, but it is up to each one of us to make our dreams walk, it is up to each one of us to keep pushing and push harder. At the end of the day, if we all do that, from our various locations, in Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Morocco, Kenya or wherever one might be at the time, Africa will indeed rise.
To conclude, I will quote the late Mahatma Gandhi who said, “There are seven things that will destroy us; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without character; religion without sacrifice; politics without principle; science without humanity; and business without ethics.”
Congratulations to us!